Jailed League of Social Democrats activist Raphael Wong has called upon Hongkongers to vote in the March Legislative Council by-elections, as this would “provide the greatest protection” to himself and Joshua Wong, according to a fellow party member.

On Wednesday, the Court of First Instance sentenced Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong to 4.5 months and three months in prison respectively over the involvement in the clearance of a Mong Kok Occupy site in 2014. Judge Andrew Chan earlier held them in contempt of court for failing to comply with an injunction to clear the pro-democracy protest camp. The pair were also denied bail, as Chan said the court did not have the jurisdiction to do so.

Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong
Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong. Photo: In-Media.

The jail sentences came just months after they were released on bail for two separate cases they are appealing, namely the Civic Square clashes of 2014 and the northeast New Territories land protests.

League of Social Democrats activist Figo Chan visited Raphael Wong at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre and said both he, and Joshua Wong, appeared to be well.

March by-election

Chan said Raphael Wong wished to tell everyone that he was grateful for their support and that he will continue to read biographies, dictionaries and the Bible. Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong have been together the whole time and had discussed the by-elections.

According to Chan, Raphael Wong also said he fully supported the pro-democracy candidates and urged everyone to set up street stations.

The by-elections will be held on March 11 to fill four seats vacated by lawmakers disqualified over their oaths of office. The seats up for grabs are in the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West, and New Territories East geographical constituencies, as well as the the functional constituency for Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape. Gary Fan and Edward Yiu recently emerged as the winners of the pro-democracy primaries. Joshua Wong’s Demosisto colleague Agnes Chow will contest the Hogn Kong Island seat.

Raphael Wong, Leung Kwok-hung and Avery Ng
Raphael Wong, Leung Kwok-hung and Avery Ng. Photo: Karen Cheung/HKFP.

A statement released by League of Social Democrats following the sentencing said that those involved in the Mong Kok contempt case were a new group of political prisoners. The party said that they “had no regrets in relation to civil disobedience, and only hope the public will understand that their actions that day were motivated by a desire to achieve universal suffrage and a fair, democratic society.”

The party also said that the public must unite together in the face of oppression by authoritarianism.

Joshua Wong’s party, Demosisto, also said on Wednesday that they were “very disappointed” by the sentence. The party said they did not believe the prosecutions could provide a solution to any political problems, nor would oppressing dissidents win the support of the people.

“Although imprisonment could separate the activists from the masses, it will not erode their will to fight — rather, it will strengthen their pursuit of democracy,” Demosisto said.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.